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I agree with the post above about targeting a geographic area. Setting up a ‘Google My Business’ listing is also definitely a necessity for any local small business (it’s free and easy too). Even if you don’t have a physical location (ie a store or shopfront) you can just specify a general area you service (e.g western Sydney).

When people search for a cleaner, brick layer, dentist, hair salon etc Google returns results for businesses that are located nearby. You can spend a lot of time and money optimising your site and ‘Google My Business’ listing to ensure you rank at the top of search results, but the main things Google cares about is:

  1. Proximity of the person searching to your business location, and the relevance of the keyword they searched to your business
  2. Links to your website from other credible websites (most small business won’t have any of these, they are somewhat hard to get and best left for later)
  3. Your website setup in terms of keywords. Your business name, address and phone (NAP) must also be on your site.
  4. Citations, which is just a fancy word for putting your business name, address and phone (NAP) on directories across the internet. The more directories Google sees your NAP in the more it believes you’re a real business. For $100 Brightlocal.com can put your NAP on 25 directories, well worth doing given your only need to do it once and then it’s done. I did this for a real estate agent servicing a specific suburb (no office location) and it made a huge difference.
  5. Google reviews, Google gives preference to business with lots of positive and recent reviews (full disclosure: I run a service that helps small businesses get more google reviews)